Distance running pushes more than just your body. To really enjoy a long run, you have to shut off nagging thoughts and just go.
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen me talking about marathon training and the accompanying long weekend runs. My running partner and I have been training for a couple of months now for a marathon that he’s running in October. I’m not planning to run the marathon, but I jumped at the chance to train with him, just to see how far I could push myself, distance-wise.
We’ve been following Hal Higdon’s marathon training regimen, which includes shorter runs during the week and a long run every weekend. You gradually up your mileage, and the longest run you do is 20 miles towards the end of your training schedule. If you check out the schedule, you’ll see that the weekend runs give you “break weeks” where you don’t run as far followed by a week where your mileage jumps up considerably.
The night before our first big jump in mileage, I had nightmares about it, but after we’d finished our nine mile run, I felt amazing! Exhausted, relaxed, and centered. Part of that feeling was from the way you push your body when you’re distance running, but part of it was from the mental effects of hitting the road.
What I’ve learned from marathon training is that distance running isn’t all about physical fitness. Of course, your body needs training to handle a 10, 15, or 26 mile run, but the real struggle when we add distance isn’t so much physical as mental. Distance running is about quieting your mind and falling into your pace, your stride, and your breath.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Lululemon Athletica
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